May 30, 2023 – Longtime community leader and educator Mark Sanford, a representative in District 17 for the North Dakota House, recently received DomesticShelters.org’s Purple Ribbon Award in the category outstanding legislative partner. This award and category honors outstanding elected officials and other legislators who set extraordinary examples for ending domestic violence.
At its annual virtual ceremony on May 18th, DomesticShelters.org announced the winners of the 2023 Purple Ribbon Awards across 34 categories, as judged by a national panel of respected professionals from the domestic violence field. Theresa’s Fund, DomesticShelters.org and experts in the field combined forces to develop this comprehensive annual awards program to honor heroes within the domestic violence movement, including advocates, programs, shelters, survivors and members of the community support system.
Nominated by Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC), this award signifies national/international recognition for Rep. Sanford’s commitment and leadership of interpersonal violence intervention and prevention. “As former superintendent for Grand Forks Public Schools, Rep. Sanford continues to show up for the next generation in ways that will have lasting impacts not only for CVIC and Grand Forks, but survivors and families throughout the entire state,” said Coiya Tompkins, CVIC president/CEO. “His work in the 68th Legislative Assembly enabled CVIC and 18 of its sister agencies in the statewide coalition to make history.”
Although a need for domestic violence/sexual assault services has continued to increase throughout the past several years, state funding for the past decade has remained relatively flat, and in a few cases, it dipped. Prior biennium funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services (representing 19 agencies) was roughly $3.1 million. With Rep. Sanford’s facilitation of interim session discussions with colleagues and his support of increased resources, funding has escalated to $7.5 million.
In addition to his legislative commitment, Rep. Sanford strongly supports CVIC and its vision to end interpersonal violence. Rep. Sanford is a major donor who has personally given to CVIC for several decades. Beyond monetary donations, Rep. Sanford donates his time, knowledge and talents. He is a past board member of CVIC, has become a mentor to CVIC and its sister agencies leaders and continues to educate others about the importance of violence intervention and prevention. He’s also a 2023 nominee for the agency’s Peacemaker of the Year Award, a local honor that recognizes domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention efforts.
“Throughout our time together, Rep. Sanford has become both a professional and personal hero. He’s the kind of leader and friend I aspire to be, and I’m incredibly grateful for what his investment will do for thousands of North Dakota families,” Tompkins said.